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Hell Points at Home — Summoned Demons Review Tasteless Movies on DVD



Unearthed (2008)

Summary: Vague plot, Vaugier acting - and a bag of B-movie horror staples.
Warnings: "R" for horror... if you are frightened by rubber "Alien" halloween suits.
Hell Points: 4/10 as per the Demonshrine "adjusted for budget" rules.

All right now, this was a Horrorfest 2007 movie, and all of them together don't have a budget that Paris Hilton's chihuahua could live on for a week. But it should still have tried harder in the relatively cheap area of making a script that doesn't snicker at the audience. Fail.

Which is why, factoring in such recognized limitations, the acting (spotty), special effects (physical were very good, CGI very bad), overall production (not bad), and continuity (fair) all get a free pass from the demons.

One thing the demons feel fair in asking of lower budget productions, however, is a decent script and premise. The movie overall was worth seeing if you're a fan of B-movie horror flicks, so consider that the review. Go see it. Support crappy movies that were closer to the mark than truly awful ones. In fact, various semi-famous actors here will probably go on to become (slightly) more famous, probably for marrying someone truly famous, or because they'll pop into high-budget crap over time. Power to 'em, they had to do this first, which was no doubt rather demeaning.

Unearthed begins with high-tech iPhones providing a sort of X-ray into solid rock we later find is not solid and is not rock and is in fact... unearthed! As in, seemed to have been unearthed from day one. Um, okay (they "explain" this later, sort of - okay, fine, not really). The monster awakens and kills someone, or so the demons thought, except later this surely couldn't have happened, or we'd be down one in the cast.

Unearthed then piles on the horror movie, or any movie, cliches. The tough-as-nails sheriff is a Canadian-American actress - oops, scratch that - Arizona law dog, as played by Emmanuelle Vaugier, who is a drunk with flashbacks to either her childhood or killing some little Navajo/Pueblo girl. The character, not the actress. The flashbacks are a great way to eat up several minutes of film to get us to "feature" length, but they do nothing at all for the film. And they're a cliche even if they'd made any sense. Poor tormented sheriff! Will she sacrifice herself to absolve her sins? Of course not! No wait, of course she will! Because that's a cliche, too.

Unearthed also gives us the Anasazi, a diverse group of pre-contact native peoples who slowly migrated into northern Mexico or farther south in the USA to get the hell away from persistent drought and the horrible creative vision of their mud-house designers' aesthetics. Except here they were wiped out by what appears to be a single "all five kingdoms of DNA" super predator. No not predator, alien. And both Predator and Alien should be capitalized there.

Boy were the Anasazi a lot of chumps! Not only did they get massacred by the hundreds of thousands by a single Alien. They did this and also managed to stop and suspend its animation. Using uranium among other things, which granted is pointed out as an accident in the, uh, plot. Perhaps it was the very last Anasazi elder who stopped the foul beast, buried it, then died of heat exhaustion, ending the "race" of The Old Ones.

Oddly, the movie then establishes a Grandpa and a grand-daughter role on or near a reservation. As experts in pottery and plant biology, they are of course, saddled with platitudes common to most Native Americans in movies big and small, though most of this is annoying and not patently insulting.

One character, who forgot to read the script, notes they are the descendants of the (wiped-out) Anasazi. Read the script, fool, the Anasazi were entirely destroyed by the same Alien that's munching cattle and even kills several people (many of whom nearly kill it, of course) over a period of three or four days!

Grandpa sacrifices himself to the Great Spirit (a propane tank) somewhere along the line, but his grand-daughter, who knows how to refine uranium from a small chunk of rock using a back-yard generator, notes that the monster was in a kiva, a burial ground. Well lady, the set looked like a kiva, you called it a kiva, so how come a kiva isn't ever mentioned as a burial chamber in Native American history or anthropology? Maybe the Ansazi knew more than white-eye demons have "unearthed" to date.

These and more kill the whole deal. The Alien is hard to destroy, but eventually is either dispatched or turned back into a hibernating fossil with a syringe of crushed plants and uranium, and most the main characters are dead. Even the annoying city-slicker "stereotypical" black man in a mid-60's Corvette who finds himself stranded in a bad movie (his massive head trauma was nicely done, the demons give out stars for such things).

And then the credits roll. Nodin survives, presumably so she can be allowed to read extensively on kivas and rituals, given her real-life bio page on her official web site suggested she's proud of this confused heritage. She may also be proud of the most Alien moment in the film, where the slimy, head-in-a-head, toothy, whip-tailed demon gets its horrifying face right up to Sigourney... err... ah screw it - the end.

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